On being a black mayor

    For a thoughtful take on John Street’s inflammatory assertion that many African Americans don’t see Mayor Nutter as a black mayor, read the piece in Philadelphia Magazine by Patrick Kerkstra.

    Patrick left the Inquirer last year – a real loss for the paper – and the story blends insights from his days covering city hall with new reporting and interviews with Nutter.

    Kerkstra notes that after his election Nutter’s post-racial political profile was seen as an advantage. But Nutter’s former press secretary Doug Oliver adds that “it cuts two ways. If racial identity continues to polarize communities, well then, now you’re just seen as the guy who wants me to assimilate, you’re the guy who wants to erase all the hard work of our ancestors, you’re the guy who thinks the playing field is level.”

    There’s more, and Nutter has interesting things to say.

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    Embracing the complexity of the issue, the piece is titled, “The Problems of the Post-Racial Politician Operating in an Economic Downturn and Facing an Electorate Still Largely Segregated Along Lines of Class and Skin Color – Or, why black folks don’t like Michael Nutter.”

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